489) Sin and Temptation

By C.  S. Lewis in Mere Christianity

     If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong.  The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins.  All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual:  the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronizing and spoiling sport, and back-biting, the pleasures of power, of hatred.  For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become.  They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self.  The Diabolical self is the worse of the two.  That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute.  But, of course, it is better to be neither.

———————————

     You may remember I said that the first step towards humility was to realize that one is proud. I want to add now that the next step is to make some serious attempt to practice the Christian virtues.  A week is not enough.  Things often go swimmingly for the first week.  Try six weeks.  By that time, having, as far as one can see, fallen back completely or even fallen lower than the point one began from, one will have discovered some truths about oneself.  No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.  A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means.  This is an obvious lie.  Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is.  After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in.  You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down.  A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later.  That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness.  They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.  We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it…

——————————————————————————————-

Every saint has a past.  Every sinner has a future.

–Oscar Wilde

**************************************

Mark 7:20-23  —  Jesus went on:  “What comes out of a person is what defiles them.  For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

I Timothy 1:15  —  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

Philippians 4:8  —  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

**************************************

God, have pity on me, a sinner.

–Luke 18:13